Thursday, March 20, 2014

ELYSIUM (2013)

RUN TIME- 109 Mins
WRITER(S)- Neill Blomkamp
STARRING- Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley
DIRECTOR- Neill Blomkamp

Synopsis taken from IMDb
In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds.

Having enjoyed "District 9", I was very much looking forward to checking out this film. Neill Blomkamp made quite the name for himself with his first feature, so I figured he'd be someone to follow. Especially since this also tends to be a visual effects movie, the same way District was, I figured this one might be worth a watch.

As it turns out, I watched it twice (laugh). And although I liked it, I still found it disappointing. I think that there was a lot of hype on this film and on Blomkamp, because people now have an expectation of how good his films should be. But, this one just doesn't live up to it's potential.

I think the main reason that this doesn't go over as smoothly as  "District 9" is because it's far too political. You can smell it radiating off of the movie. It's very obvious and in your face, and very blunt. It's just as political and metaphorical as George A. Romero's 2005 zombie film "Land of the Dead", if not worse. Blomkamp has a tendency to incorporate messages through his films, but this just felt unnecessary and not what I was expecting. It's basically a futuristic way of trying to tell the story of people demanding equal respect from their government.

Only it's done with fancy trinkets and lots of special effects and cgi, to help you wash down the overly redundant topic. You can always go watch "V for Vendetta" if you want the same basic principal of story told, and better told while at it.

I think that's what was such a letdown to me. This film had myself and everyone thinking it was going to be epic, and it turned out to have no major performances in it, and ended up just coming off and being treated like an action sci-fi movie. I sound like a snob, but point blank, I expected a better film.

The action scenes, and special effects are well done, and very cutting edge and cool. But again, I wanted more than just fancy fight scenes and a lot of explosions, but I attended the wrong movie. This flick is good for all the wrong reasons. It's good because it's fun, not because it's a well made piece of cinema.

As the story plays out, it becomes a tad predictable. It's like a super breed of a generic movie. It's easy on the eye, and has a sense of intelligence to it. But, there's something missing, a vital piece. It's hard to put my finger on. In the end, I like "Elysium", but it should have been so much better than it is. It's not something I'd watch often.

On the positive side, I think that Matt Damon did a great job playing Max. Damon is very sympathetic and genuine in this role, and he does a good job at making it easy to side with his character. It's not the best acting I've seen from Damon, but it's still pretty good. I believe the character of Max is the common man in today's economy, just trying to make it by, and hope to get treated fairly. Only since this is a movie, he gets to get revenge and bring hell down on those who've earned it.

However, although Matt Damon plays a likable character, he's the only performance that really stands out. Sharlto Copley hardly gets enough screen time to allow us as an audience to really get any character development, so the performance isn't his best work. Add to that, he's a villain, so there's really nothing to like about his character, and there's nothing that stands out and makes his acting or the character memorable. As a matter of fact, I'm willing to bet that the only person people talk about after seeing this film is Matt Damon.

Not to mention, Jody Foster, who really doesn't do much for the film aside from add it's main villain. She does a good job at it, but her acting isn't anything worth mentioning, so I won't. It's easy to play a bad guy and good guy. It's hard to make the character read on screen as more than just  cut and dry, good or bad. There's no layers to her character, Delacourt. So I can't say that I'm impressed with Jody in this one. Let's hope she does something a little more memorable in her next flick, whatever that may be.

At the end of the day, "Elysium" is a fun film for lots of stylized fights and scenery. And if you don't let the thickness of it's political message cloud your air, you just may enjoy it!

3 out of 5 stars


  1. Fantastic review! This is not a film that I have even added to my "to view" list but after reading this, I am definitely NOT in a hurry! Well done as always!

  2. Thanks Teresa! Yeah, if it's on TV or something, check it out. But don't beat doors down to see it.


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